Burgas, on the Black Sea coast, is Bulgaria’s second largest city, with a population of 200,000. Its port is the country’s largest, making the city the centre of Bulgaria’s fishing and fish processing industries and a hub for freight. As part of a region that attracts one million tourists a year, including those seen on the UK TV’s ‘Sunny Beach’ series, its airport is the country’s second busiest.
With so much traffic and such diverse needs, the city’s public transport infrastructure was under considerable pressure. Our team advises Burgas on the design, procurement and implementation of a €65 million transport infrastructure upgrade funded by the EU Operational Programme for Regional Development 2007-2013 to give the city state-of-the-art public transport facilities.
Georgi Georgiev, Project Director, WYG, takes up the story: “The city’s public transport network wasn’t good so people weren’t using it. We believe these new facilities will really improve people’s lives so that they abandon their cars.
“The new transport infrastructure gives people a number of transport options for travelling around the city for work and leisure. These will encourage workers, tourists and visitors to walk, cycle or use public transport, which will reduce congestion and CO2 emissions.”
An intelligent transport solution
Burgas’s new transport infrastructure is based on a new fleet of 67 buses and 20 trolley buses, running on 20km of new road and track, plus five new bus stations, a new bus depot, and a new transport control centre with a Bus Rapid Transit System.
eticketing, real time passenger information and upgrades to junctions with traffic signals to provide CCTV and bus priority telematics, and measures for pedestrians and cyclists will be complemented by efficient parking options.
Georgi Georgiev adds: “The buses are already running in the city and eticketing will be launched soon. As part of the programme we are also upgrading the bus depot and giving it refuelling capabilities.
“We’re also creating jobs around this programme – the eticketing system will have a control centre so we’re looking to hire new people with new skills. There will also be a CCTV-based traffic monitoring system that will inform the police if there’s an accident.”
Working with the authorities
Timing is a key challenge. Implementing a large programme involving procurement and construction elements in a relative short timeframe requires excellent cooperation between key stakeholders, including the municipality, funding authorities, police, fire services and utilities.
Our four strong team is meeting this challenge effectively and has subsequently won a second similar project in the Plovdiv, the country’s fourth largest city. Georgi concludes: “Burgas City is the pilot project not only for Bulgaria but for the Balkan Peninsula, and Plovdiv is among the first of a number of major public transport initiatives in Bulgaria. We won the Plovdiv project because we are doing a good job in Burgas, so we are very well placed in this high profile sector.”